Someone from my hometown lives and works in Rwanda and his blog showed people doing something of what I envision happening in Kazakhstan. The profits made by creating beautiful Card-Again cards would help the families of those victims who are rescued. The victims are also helped because they need something to do with their hands as they sit idly in the human trafficking shelters. The reason many of these men and women got ensnared in the first place is because they were reaching out in hope for a job prospect in another area of the country. They were often lied to by those they trusted. Consequently, they were not given any monetary compensation for the work they did whether in construction or in the sex industry. Now their situation is still bad after being “freed” from slavery, many of them still have no skills and have terrible memories of their enslavement. Tragically, these are the “lucky” ones who are living in the shelters and getting rehabilitated.
I’m glad to say that the box that I shipped with old greeting cards, envelopes and cardstock has arrived in Astana. It means the meeting of my two contacts has to happen first. Meanwhile, those who are administering at the different shelters in northern Kazakhstan will have to figure out how to put the “Card-Again” cards together. Without my being there, I’m sure some creative persons will come up with much better ideas than what I have learned over the course of a year. We have made our share of mistakes but we have also learned what works. The profit we have made from the sales of our “Card-Again” cards have gone directly to Not For Sale, Minnesota.
I would LOVE to find out more about “Fresh Words Market” and how they have arrived at selling eight cards with coordinating envelopes. I know the frustration of buying a greeting card in Kazakhstan and not having an envelope to go with it. You are forced to create your own. I guess as westerners we always assume that you get an envelope with the purchase of a card so you can promptly mail it. In Kazakhstan, they don’t have much of a postal system and being more of an oral tradition, they just pass along their well wishes orally and not in writing.
Hopefully that will change where the cards that the victims make in the human trafficking shelters will be sold at the Radisson hotel in Astana during the Christmas Bazaar sponsored by the International Women’s Club. In five short months, that all has to be coordinated to that end. The International women write letters and will want to feel like they are helping the victims who are trying to make a profit from the work they did on making cards. A win-win situation.
I took great encouragement in finding out what others are doing to build up a cottage industry in Haiti, Rwanda and elsewhere. Check these photos out about how they make their cards.